Back in February of last year an article appeared on CNN that had to do with baptisms for the dead. (see link)
A debate raged in the comments section of the article, way too many comments to read them all, but I wanted to save this entry where a member answered some comments posted by a non-member.
(The debate still rages it appears, last look there were over 2,000 comments as late as August this year.)
A few corrections from a practicing Mormon and a PhD student in religious studies:
What does a mormon believe?
"He believes that Jesus Christ is Satan's brother": We believe all mankind are the spirit-children of our "Father"-in-Heaven. We believe Lucifer was also a spirit child of God but was cast out of heaven for rebellion (Revelation 12)
"He believes that God lives near a planet called 'Kolob.'": Yep. If God exists on the material plane, which we believe he does, he has to exist somewhere. Why not near a planet? (Book of Abraham, The Pearl of Great Price 3:9)
"He believes in baptizing dead people": Yep. Straight from the mouth of the Apostle Paul who received a personal witness from the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
"He believes that Jesus is married to a goddess wife": Marriage and family life is one of the greatest blessings of existence. Why should Christ, sinless and perfect, not be allowed to partake of such blessings when us sinners have a chance to participate in them?
"He believes that The Garden of Eden was in Missouri": Yep. Why not? What did the earth look like before the flood? Or even after? Doesn't it say in Genesis 10:22-25 that the earth was divided in the days of Peleg? Is Missouri somehow incapable of being a sacred space?
"He believes that it was impossible for African Americans to go to Heaven before 1978": Wrong. Blacks were denied the priesthood from around the 1850s-1978 (Joseph Smith ordained some black men to the priesthood in his time). The priesthood is not a prerequisite for baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, or enduring to the end.
"He believes that Jesus has children from his wife or wives": Once again, if I as a sinner am able to recieve the joy of family life, why should it be denied to the Only Begotten of the Father?
"He believes that he is going to become a god": We believe our Father-in-Heaven, like any good mortal parent, wants his children to have the blessings he enjoys. Does that mean we will someday rise above him or supplant him as our God? Certainly not.
"He believes he will own his own personal planet after he dies": That's putting it a little strangely, it's not a real estate scheme. What does our Father-in-Heaven do? He creates worlds, He inhabits them with children.
"He believes the real Christian God is not eternal but rather that He was once a man on some other planet besides Earth!" No eternal thing can be created. God has always existed, therefore He is eternal. But, to suppose that He has never had to overcome obstacles, or learn, or do anything to reach his glorious and perfect state runs counter to logic. We on this earth find joy and fullfillment in learning and growing. Why should the allmighty be denied a history, a developmental path? Where do you think God comes from?
"He believes he needs to wear magical underwear created by Mormons and he is never to take it off unless he is bathing": Hmm, partially correct, but still mostly wrong. We wear sacred garments as a reminder of the covenants we have made with God. We wear them just as often as other people wear underwear. Is it odd that most people in the western world wear underwear, except during certain activities? Wearing some sort of sacred garment is not a strictly LDS practice. The Sikhs have their Kaccha, American Indians have had various sacred articles of clothing, etc.
"He believes it is a sin to drink anything containing caffeine": Wrong. We don't drink tea and Coffee. In fact, I just drank a Diet Dr. Pepper and I am not expecting brimstone to drop on my head anytime soon.
You say that you "just cannot take these [LDS] people seriously," but I bet if you met some sincere LDS people, you wouldn't mind them at all. Our beliefs are precious to us. They make us want to be better citizens, better parents, better neighbors, and more like our saviour Jesus Christ–yes, the same Christ in the Bible, which we consider scripture. How can that be a negative?